I was very pleased to hear that Toronto council is moving forward with changing the composition of the TTC board to include private citizens. I am in complete support of this idea. It’s a definite step in the right direction to include board members whose backgrounds and relevant experience will add value to the decision-making of the TTC. The ongoing debate over subways vs. surface LRT has become tiresome. Surely there is an affordable direction for today that will be easily upgraded when the demand and money allows.
The Eglinton-Scarborough Crosstown LRT project.
I have always been a subway supporter, but as an urban designer and city builder, I appreciate that the demand for subways must be demonstrated. Toronto is growing and it needs to grow into a first-rate transit system.
As far as the Eglinton LRT goes, the city and the province agree that it will run underground from Black Creek Drive in the West to Laird Drive in the east. If it were tunneled along that route, I would suggest extending the line east to Don Mills as phase one, and continue east with buses in dedicated lanes until the demand for a phase two extension to Kennedy can be demonstrated. The section from Brentcliffe Rd. to Don Mills can be a surface route in a dedicated right of way on the south side of Eglinton. The intersection at Don Mills and Eglinton is undeveloped. A proposal call should be issued immediately for a truly integrated LRT station, bus terminal and mixed-use development at this corner. The proponent will bear the cost of constructing this terminus.
The corner of Don Mills and Eglinton as it is today.
Is there time to affect the cost of the Eglinton crosstown? Open houses run by Metrolinx for the proposed Allen station and Bathurst station reveal the station boxes have been placed centered on both Eglinton Avenue and the Allen and Bathurst. The location of the Allen station creates a grand underground concourse with all the associated costs, construction complexity and traffic chaos as a result of the loss of Allen Rd access. The Bathurst station would also create traffic chaos by closing down key north south traffic lanes during construction. Moving the stations completely to the east or west of major north south arteries will be faster and cheaper to build with 50% less traffic disruption. It’s an issue that requires carefully considered design.